The need to address mental health has never been more pertinent today. As we continue to sink deeper into a digitised and capitalist version of the world, people continue to chase after the next big thing: the next degree, the next job, the next move, the next child and so forth. People chase after a picture-perfect reflection of their life. But in this picture, the internal self, you, the one that harbours thoughts, feelings, histories and struggles, is suppressed and silenced.
Underlying reasons are abundant why mental health continues to be a stigma despite the progress towards addressing it. Firstly, there’s a dark cloud of shame that casts shadows over those who face mental health issues and those who seek guidance. The internal emotional and mental well-being of a person today is eclipsed by societal and cultural stigmas.
When we sat down with Omar Gharaibeh, co-founder and CEO of the UAE-based mental health app and platform, TalkTime, he shared the fact that one of the driving factors behind building TalkTime for the Gulf and MENA region is its aim to remove the cultural stigmas. There’s a deep divide between private and public life that seeps into our societies, he shared. There’s the expectation to always look perfect and unscathed. Reputation and image are two words that are synonymous with our culture. But we all know that human beings are beautifully complex. If there’s anything that the past few years have taught us as the whole world went through and continues to go through a pandemic is that introspection is detrimental to leading healthy lives.
But more often than not people toss aside their well-being because they don’t deem it necessary, serious or don’t have a clinical diagnosis. Majd Habbal, who is the co-founder and a practising Clinical Psychologist , explains that people are concerned with their accomplishments and milestones. People have no issue investing their time into things. But they don’t invest in themselves. Why? Because it’s not quantified or physically visible.
When it came to building TalkTime it was clear to them that it wasn’t only a matter of removing the cultural stigmas around mental health. The journey to accessing therapy was just as much part of the problem as addressing it. For example, someone who feels the need to seek help. The mere question of: 'I think I need help. Do you know anyone?' can deter them from seeking help. Why? Because it comes with a lot of shame and fear. But with TalkTime, you don’t have to ask anyone. You don’t have to feel uncomfortable by feeling vulnerable.
More so, it can simply be difficult. From finding the right therapist to being able to afford it, because let’s agree: therapy is expensive, to knowing how to even start. In this case, it can simply deter someone from seeking help. And that’s an unfortunate journey, especially for someone who is already struggling. We’re supposed to make it easier - not harder, Gharaibeh says.
The conventional way of seeking guidance does come with a heavy cost. It just makes you wonder: Is the world telling us that our mental and emotional being just isn’t that important? All the while, depression, anxiety, suicide rates, and mental disorders continue to be on the rise.
It raises questions. But they’re questions a platform like TalkTime wants to answer for you. TalkTime makes therapy accessible, affordable and effective.
How? It’s simple. You can access the platform online. You answer a few questions about how you’re feeling and what your preferences are. Their algorithm matches you to the right therapist. You choose the plan that’s most convenient for you. And just like that — from anywhere and anytime — you are on a journey to bettering yourself, whether through a call, a text or a video session.
It offers therapy for everyone: individuals, couples, and teenagers. It also offers a corporate empowerment program for businesses to empower their human capital, which is a significant pillar. TalkTime is a platform that’s all about you. It’s empathetic towards the 25-year-old working millennial or 40-year-old single mother who feels uncomfortable or embarrassed to walk into a mental health clinic or even admit to going to therapy. It understands burnout culture. It empathises with the working individual who strives to reach their goals and live their highest potential.
With TalkTime, Gharaibeh explains, it’s not just about joining the digitisation of industries. It's really about creating better and healthier people. After all, as much as we are social animals living within communities and among the masses, there is one constant relationship in your life and that is the one you have with yourself. Just like people invest in their accomplishments, people have to invest in themselves.
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